Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Truth is Stranger than Fiction: Talk to UNC Library Graduate Students at the SILS Library, Chapel Hill, NC

SILS Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to the graduate students and faculty at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill about the process I go through when writing and illustrating one of my nonfiction books. We met in the SILS Library, which has a large collection of children’s books, and I was pleased to see a display of more than a dozen of my books on top of one of the bookcases. The books are used for research but are also available for checkout by anyone on campus. We gathered around a large table in the corner of the library and a screen was set up for my slides. Library Head Rebecca Vargha gave a very nice introduction for my talk and at the end we had a lively discussion and questions. I thank Rebecca for inviting me and graduate student Alena Principato for helping to make arrangements, for promoting my talk on campus and taking pictures. I enjoyed my visit very much! I am always glad to meet librarians. They are the people who put books like mine in the hands of children.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Illustrations from my Day and Night series Available at Etsy

Illustration from A Day and Night in the Rain Forest
This gallery quality print is made from an original cut-paper illustration I created for my children’s book A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE RAIN FOREST, one of four books in the Caroline Arnold's Habitats series published by Picture Window Books (Capstone). This image is on pages 2-3. Even though the paper of the print is flat, it retains the three-dimensional quality of the layered paper of the original art.
The print is 10 1/4 inches by 20 inches with a one inch white border and is shipped in a sturdy mailing tube. Smaller sizes of prints are also available.
Prints make great gifts for the holidays!  Check out my Etsy site for these and other available illustrations.
Illustration from A Day and Night in the Desert

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NONFICTION BOOT CAMP INTENSIVE, Sat. Jan. 14, 2017, SCBWI California: San Francisco North and East Bay

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, I will be speaking at the Nonfiction Boot Camp Intensive in Oakland, California, sponsored by the San Francisco North and East Bay chapters of SCBWI, along with Alyssa Mito Pusey, Senior Editor at Charlesbridge Publishing and noted nonfiction author Pamela S. Turner. Here’s the blurb and link to the website for more information.
It should be a great day!

Join our outstanding faculty for a full day of hands on, deep craft nonfiction sessions in the beautiful Nile Hall of Oakland's Preservation Park. The workshops will provide practical information and guidance about the Nonfiction market, how to get your NF proposal or manuscript into shape, help you understand how to pitch and structure your proposal, how to target to the right market, create your narrative arc, and learn research techniques and methodologies from successful authors.

This program is for developed writers (you have had your work critiqued, participate in a critique group, and have participated in professional writers' programs/conferences) or are published writers. This is a smaller group setting.

First come, first served. Register early to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

CONNECTING CULTURES MOBILE MUSEUM: Explore Diversity, See Similarities

Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum exhibit panels
Imagine a museum jam packed with hundreds of objects from all over the world that comes to you at your school library! That’s what the Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum in Southern California does. Bringing its exhibits to middle schools in the greater Los Angeles area, sixth, seventh and eighth graders have the opportunity to learn about cultures around the world and find connections to their own cultural roots. Every object is labeled with its name, country of origin, and color-coded to its region of the world.
CCMM Reception in the RFK Community Schools Library
A week ago I attended a reception for CCMM supporters at RFK Community Schools in Los Angeles. The spacious library was an ideal place for the exhibit panels and tables of “hands-on” objects that students can examine close-up. Founder and President Valerie Lezin gave a short presentation and then we were invited to enjoy an array of delicious international snacks.
Baskets I collected on my trip to Uganda many years ago
I have been a supporter of CCMM for many years, donating objects that I have collected in my various journeys around the world. It is a pleasure to see them as part of the exhibits and to know that they are having a second life helping to inspire young people about our cultural heritage.
Mexican platter and weavings from Central America collected by my family
The mission of CCMM is to inspire understanding and respect for cultural diversity by exploring global arts and artifacts. Currently, CCMM reaches between 16,000 and 20,000 students each year! The students who have the CCMM visit their school are lucky to have this opportunity to enjoy and appreciate this rich resource.
 Find out more about the Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum at

Objects connected to writing and trade

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Signing books at West Putnam School, Porterville, CA
Last week was my second round of author visits in the elementary schools of Porterville, California. Porterville is a small city on the eastern edge of  California’s Central Valley and sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, not far from several National Parks. During the weekend between my two weeks of visits, I treated myself to a trip to Yosemite National Park, returning in time to visit my first school of the week.

October 24: Vandalia Elementary School
With Reading Teacher Rebecca Ortiz
My host at Vandalia Elementary School, Rebecca Ortiz, did a great job of organizing my schedule and the book sale and autographing. In advance of my visit, the library had purchased a number of my books so the students could read them. I always appreciate it when the students can become familiar with some of my books before my visit. We had a full schedule with a separate assembly just for kindergarten students which meant we had time to read A Zebra’s World and go on a “Lion Hunt”.

October 25: West Putnam Elementary School
With Mrs. Perez and Reading Teacher Julianne Buckley
On Tuesday my host at West Putnam was Julianne Buckley with the help of her excellent aide, Mrs. Perez, and again I had very enthusiastic audiences with good questions. Here too I was able to meet separately with the kindergarteners. At lunchtime I had a chance to chat with teachers and Julianne provided a delicious lunch from Panera.

October 26: Olive Street School
With Reading Teacher Judy Bedell
On Wednesday, at Olive Street School, I was greeted by the reading teacher Judy Bedell and the principal, Mr. Nunez, who helped me set up my computer for my PowerPoint slide show so I could use the school’s projection system which was better than my projector for the large screen. A special treat of the day was having lunch with selected fourth, fifth and sixth grade students who had the opportunity to ask me questions about writing and books. Jason Pommier, the Public Information Officer of Porterville USD came to take photos. I thank Judy Bedell for all her hard work organizing the day, for providing me with delicious hot soup for lunch, for pulling my books around in her wagon, and for the special treat basket she gave me to take home.

October 27: Roche Avenue School
With Reading Teacher Amanda Avila and Principal Patricia Jorgensen
My host on Thursday was reading teacher Amanda Avila at Roche Avenue School and the day included three assemblies and book signing. Roche is the smallest school in the Porterville USD with only two classes per grade and this helped to make my presentations more personal. I thank Amanda Avila for all her hard work in organizing the day and coordinating the book signing and Principal Patricia Jorgensen for her great introductions at each assembly. The three of us had a delicious and relaxing lunch at Jenny Lynn's Restaurant not far from the school.

October 28: Santa Fe School
With reading teacher Beatriz Hackett
At Sante Fe School my two short assemblies were squeezed into their very busy schedule. I thank my host, reading teacher Beatriz Hackett for organizing the day and school Program Manager, Eric Ortega for helping set up the audio and visuals. After the assemblies I did book signing in the library. Then it was time for me to return home to Los Angeles after a very full and rewarding two weeks visiting all ten of the elementary schools in Porterville, California!